Installing and configuring ActiveEfficiency

ActiveEfficiency Server is a core component of 1E solutions and is used to discover and store information about the IT environment from various data sources. 1E Shopping uses ActiveEfficiency to obtain details of users and computers that have been discovered by ConfigMgr.
In this lab, you will learn how to install and configure ActiveEfficiency Server for use with Shopping. You will also install the ActiveEfficiency Scout and run it to gather the data that Shopping requires from ConfigMgr.

ActiveEfficiency Server is used in different ways by other 1E solutions. This course covers the basic steps required to install ActiveEfficiency with the minimal components required for use with Shopping. Please refer to the ActiveEfficiency documentation if you are planning to implement other 1E solutions in the same environment.

Install ActiveEfficiency Server

In this exercise, you will install ActiveEfficiency Server, which is comprised of the core database and web-based API used by 1E solutions.

In this lab environment, ActiveEfficiency Server is installed on the same server as Shopping. For production implementations, ActiveEfficiency Server should generally be allocated a separate server with suitable hardware specification to support all the 1E solutions in use.

Install required Windows Role Services and Features

ActiveEfficiency requires the ASP.NET 4.6 and Static Content Compression Web Server Role Services and the Message Queuing Feature to be installed, which you will now do in this task.

1ETRNAP

  1. Log on to 1ETRNAP as 1ETRN\AppInstaller and start Server Manager
  2. From the Manage menu (top-right menu bar) select Add Roles and Features to start the Add Roles and Features Wizard
  3. On the Before you begin page click Next
  4. On the Installation Type page ensure Role-based or feature-based installation is selected and click Next
  5. On the Server Selection page, ensure the local server (1ETRNAP.1ETRN.LOCAL) is selected and click Next
  6. On the Server Roles page, locate and expand the Web Server (IIS) server role then expand the Web Server role service below that
  7. Expand Common HTTP Features and select Default Document and Static Content
  8. Expand Performance and enable Static Content Compression
  9. Expand Security and select Windows Authentication


Windows Authentication is not a requirement for ActiveEfficiency, although it can optionally be used to control access to data through the ActiveEfficiency web API. It is however a requirement for Shopping, which you will be installing later.


Expand Application Development and select ASP.NET 4.6. You will be prompted to add the ISAPI Filters, ISAPI Extensions and .NET Extensibility 4.6 role services required by ASP.NET 4.6. Click Add Features to include these then click Next


On the Features page, click Next


The Confirmation page should now show the following Role Services and Features


Click Install


When the installation completes, close the wizard


Install ActiveEfficiency

In this task, you will run the ActiveEfficiency installer on the Application server (1ETRNAP).

1ETRNAP



Launch the SkyTap Shared Drive shortcut on the desktop and navigate to 1EActiveEfficiency\activeefficiency.v1.9.910.4 and copy ActiveEfficiencyServer.msi to C:\Temp


Start a command prompt using the Run as administrator option and switch to the C:\Temp directory


If User Account Control is enabled, the installer may not install the components correctly if it executed by double-clicking the MSI file. It is good practice to install ActiveEfficiency from a command prompt with elevated privileges to avoid any issues with User Account Control.


Run the following command line to start the ActiveEfficiency installation wizard


msiexec /i ActiveEfficiencyServer.msi /l*v AEServer_Install.log


If your environment uses a Proxy Server for HTTP access, you will need to define the PROXYURI property on this command line, using the format PROXYURI="http://<proxyserver>:<port>".


On the Welcome page click Next


On the License Agreement page, accept the license agreement and click Next


On the Prerequisite Checks page ensure all checks are passed except MSMQ and click Next


ActiveEfficiency uses MSMQ for synchronization of data used by some 1E solutions with the cloud-based ActiveEffiency service. Shopping does not use this feature of ActiveEfficiency yet, so in this lab it is not necessary to install MSMQ. If MSMQ is not installed (as is the case in this lab), the ActiveEfficiency Service (which manages the cloud synchronization) will not be installed either. In production environments, if there is a possibility that other 1E solutions that have cloud-sync functionality are to be installed, it would be best to install MSMQ and the ActiveEfficiency Service at the outset rather than modifying the installation at a later date.


On the Enable 1E ActiveEfficiency Cloud Connection, uncheck the option to register with 1E ActiveEfficiency and click Next


On the Destination Folder page click Next


On the Database Server page, select the (local) SQL server from the drop down and click Next


On the ActiveEfficiency Website Settings page click Next to use the default settings


On the Nomad synchronization page, click Next to accept the default value of Nomad Sync being disabled


On the Ready to Install the Program page click Install then click Finish when the installation completes


When setup gets to the point of installing the database, it will appear as if nothing is happening for a few minutes. This is normal and the setup will continue after the background tasks are completed.


Install the ActiveEfficiency Scout

The ActiveEfficiency Scout is the component that collects information about computers and users from the ConfigMgr database and stores it in the ActiveEfficiency database. Shopping will, in turn, retrieve this data from the ActiveEfficiency database and store it locally in the Shopping database.

The ActiveEfficiency Scout is executed manually from either a command line or using a Windows Scheduled Task. While it is possible to create the Scheduled Tasks manually, the Scout includes the ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager, which provides a simple user interface and automates the creation of the necessary Scheduled Tasks.
The user account that executes the Scout must be granted read access to the ConfigMgr site database. The 1ETRN\AppInstaller account will be used to install and execute the Scout in this lab environment.


In a multi-site ConfigMgr 2012 hierarchy, the Scout would connect to the Central Administration Site (CAS) database.


In this exercise, you will grant the 1ETRN\AppInstaller account the db_datareader role on the ConfigMgr database, install the ActiveEfficiency Scout and use the ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager to schedule the Scout to collect the necessary data from ConfigMgr.

Grant the AppInstaller account read access to ConfigMgr

The scout installation requires read access to the ConfigMgr database. As you are installing the Scout on the Application Server, you are logged in as the AppInstaller user. In this task, you will assign the AppInstaller account the db_datareader role on the ConfigMgr database.


1ETRNCM



Log on to 1ETRNCM as 1ETRN\SCCMAdmin


Start SQL Server Management Studio and connect to the local SQL server


Expand the Security node and expand the Logins node


Double-click on 1ETRN\AppInstaller to open its properties


Select the User Mapping Page. Select the CM_PS1 database from the list in the Users mapped to this login section


Select db_datareader form the list in the Database role membership for: CM_PS1 section of the User Mapping page and click OK


If the account didn't exist on this SQL server instance, you would have to create the account in SQL and provision the rights listed above.


Install the ActiveEfficiency Scout

1ETRNAP



Log on to 1ETRNAP as 1ETRN\AppInstaller


Launch the SkyTap Shared Drive shortcut on the desktop and navigate to 1EActiveEfficiency\activeefficiency.v1.9.910.4 and copy ActiveEfficiencyScout.msi to C:\Temp


Start a command prompt using the Run as administrator option and switch to the C:\Temp directory


If User Account Control is enabled, the installer may not install the components correctly if it executed by double-clicking the MSI file. It is good practice to install the Scout from a command prompt with elevated privileges to avoid any issues with User Account Control. We can also specify a log file for the installed via the command line.


Run the following command line to start the Scout installation wizard


msiexec /i ActiveEfficiencyScout.msi /l*v AEScout_Install.log


On the Welcome page click Next


On the License Agreement page, accept the license agreement and click Next


On the Component Selection page leave the ConfigMgr component checked using the Standard option, ensure Server and iQSonar are unchecked and click Next


On the Destination Folder page click Next to use the default location


On the 1E ActiveEfficiency Server page click Next (ActiveEfficiency is installed on this server)


On the ConfigMgr Database page enter the following details and click Next


ConfigMgr Database Server: 1ETRNCM
ConfigMgr Database Name: CM_PS1


On the 1E Shopping Configuration Manager Setup page click Next


Here you can set a different Configuration Manager database server and database name to use when running the Scout for retrieving information for Shopping. For example, you may want to configure the Scout to retrieve information for AppClarity once a night from an offline ConfigMgr reporting server that itself is updated once a day, but configure the Scout for Shopping to retrieve information every 60 minutes from a live ConfigMgr database server. In this lab environment, there is only one ConfigMgr database, so no configuration is required on this page.


On the Ready to Install the Program page click Install


When the installation wizard completes, ensure that the Launch 1E AE Sync Manager option is selected and click Finish


Schedule the Scout using the ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager

The ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager provides a simple interface to automate the creation of the necessary scheduled tasks required to execute the scout periodically and keep the ActiveEfficiency data in sync with the ConfigMgr data. 

The ActiveEfficiency Scout is typically scheduled to run once per day and retrieves a lot of inventory data from ConfigMgr that is required by other 1E products (such as AppClarity) but not needed by Shopping. The Scout can be executed on a more frequent schedule using a special configuration that only retrieves a much smaller subset of data required by Shopping.
In this task, the ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager will be configured to run the Scout using this alternate schedule with the configuration that only collects the specific data required by Shopping.

The ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager was launched by default after the Scout installation completed in the previous task. You can run it at any time from a command line C:\Program Files (x86)\1E\ActiveEfficiency\Scout\N1E.ActiveEfficiency.SyncManager.exe. The 1E AE Sync Manager shortcut will also be available on the Start Menu when all applications are displayed.


1ETRNAP



In the Master Credentials section of the ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager, ensure the Username is 1ETRN\AppInstaller and enter Passw0rd in the Password field


Note that the Daily and Alternate schedules may be configured to override the master credentials when configuring the individual steps by clicking the Edit… button to the right of the Scout Run. If using the alternate credentials, you must ensure that the accounts used have a SQL Login on the ConfigMgr database server with the db_datareader role enabled.


In the Daily schedule settings, uncheck the Scout and AppClarity Sync steps so they do not run


As we are only using ActiveEfficiency for Shopping there is no need to execute the full Scout on a daily schedule. If AppClarity were also in use, you would need to define a schedule for the Scout to do a 'full' run.


Configure the Alternate schedule to run every 30 minutes between 00:00 and 23:00 (be sure to check the Run checkbox)


Check that the settings reflect those shown in the screenshot below and click Save. You will see a dialog box pop up indicating the 1ETRN\AppInstaller account has been granted additional privileges to run the scheduled task. Click OK


Note that when you click Save, your settings will be saved but the Synchronization Manager will remain open (the Save button will be greyed out indicating there are no changes to save.


Close the ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager via the red X on the top right corner


You will now observe the scheduled tasks that were created by the ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager.


Start the Windows Task Scheduler (from the Start screen, start typing Task Scheduler then click on Task Scheduler in the search results)


Expand the Task Scheduler Library and note the ActiveEfficiency folder created by the ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager


Note that the ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manger has created a task in the ActiveEfficiency folder named ActiveEfficiencySyncAlternate. Note this task is scheduled to run at 12:00AM (00:00) every day and repeat every 60 minutes until 23:00


Select the ActiveEfficiencySyncAlternate task then select the Actions tab in the lower half of the Task Scheduler window and observe the command line that this task executes


You will observe that the scheduled task does not actually run scout.exe. Instead, it runs taskRunner.exe with a file parameter that defines a configuration file (in this case C:\ProgramData\1e\ActiveEfficiency\AlternateScheduledTask.xml). Depending on the configuration options selected in the ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager, the scheduled task may have multiple operations to complete (such as completing an AppClarity Sync following the scout execution). These operations are defined in XML configuration files stored in C:\ProgramData\1e\ActiveEfficiency.


Open C:\ProgramData\1e\ActiveEfficiency\AlternateScheduledTask.xml in Notepad. Observe that this configuration file defines a command line to execute the Scout with the command-line argument ApplicationConfigFile=Scout.Alternate.config


Open C:\Program Files (x86)\1E\ActiveEfficiency\Scout\Scout.Alternate.config in Notepad. Note that the items related to ConfigMgr software usage and inventory will be skipped when the scout is executed with this config file. This data is not required by Shopping

Close AlternateScheduledTask.xml and Scout.Alternate.config files, taking care that you have not made any accidental changes while they were open (if you are prompted to save the file, do not!). Leave the Task Scheduler open, as you will use it in the next exercise


Note that the scheduled task will always run using the user account defined in the Master Credentials settings in the ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager. If you specified alternate credentials for the Alternate schedule in the ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager, these will be defined (in encrypted form) in the <Credentials> node in AlternateScheduledTask.xml and used for impersonation when scout.exe is executed by taskRunner.exe.


Getting data from ConfigMgr

In the previous task, you used the ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager to create a scheduled task to run the Scout using the alternate configuration every 60 minutes to get data that Shopping needs from ConfigMgr.

In this exercise, you will manually trigger that scheduled task (rather than waiting up to 60 minutes for the schedule to kick in) to retrieve properties of devices and users from ConfigMgr to support Shopping.

Run the Scout with the alternate configuration

In this task, you will manually trigger the ActiveEfficiencySyncAlternate scheduled task observed in the previous exercise to run the scout and get data from the ConfigMgr database.

1ETRNAP



On 1ETRNAP, open Task Scheduler from the Start menu, right-click the ActiveEfficiencySyncAlternate task and select Run

Open C:\ProgramData\1E\ActiveEfficiency\AlternateScheduledTask.log and observe the activity as TaskRunner executes


Remember the scheduled task executes taskRunner.exe. TaskRunner.exe logs its activity in a log file specified by the logFileName parameter on the taskRunner.exe command line. The ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager creates the ActiveEfficiencySyncAlternate task with logFileName=C:\ProgramData\1E\ActiveEfficiency\AlternateScheduledTask.log.


Note that the timestamp on these log entries is in UTC.


When the Scout is executed by TaskRunner using Scout.Alternate.config, the Scout logs its activity to C:\ProgramData\1E\ActiveEfficiency\Scout_alternate.log.


Open C:\ProgramData\1E\ActiveEfficiency\Scout_alternate.log and observe the activity as the scout runs. You should be able to identify how many users and devices were discovered in the ConfigMgr database

Observe the data returned by the Scout

The data retrieved in the previous task is stored in various tables in the ActiveEfficiency database. It can also be viewed through the ActiveEfficiency web service interface. In this task, you will observe the basic data that has been discovered by running the scout in ConfigMgr mode.

1ETRNAP



On 1ETRNAP, open Internet Explorer and browse to http://localhost/ActiveEfficiency* to open the *1E ActiveEfficiency web service interface


Click the Uri link to the right of Devices and observe the devices that have been discovered from the ConfigMgr database. This information corresponds to the data in the Devices table in the ActiveEfficiency database


Click on the link in the Identity column that corresponds to the 1ETRNW71.1ETRN.local device to view detailed properties of the device in the Single Device resource page


Click the back button in the browser until you return to the 1E ActiveEfficiency web service page and then click the URI link to the right of DiscoveryHistory. This shows the start and end time of each execution of the Scout. This corresponds to the data in the DiscoveryHistory table in the ActiveEfficiency database


In most environments, the scout will be installed just on the ActiveEfficiency server. However, the architecture allows the Scout to be installed on multiple computers, in which case you would see a row for each instance of the scout (identified by the computer name in the InstanceId column).

You will notice that there is also an item called Scouts on the 1E ActiveEfficiency web service page. This is left in for backwards compatibility so that previous Scout run information is preserved in an ActiveEfficiency upgrade scenario.


The 1E ActiveEfficiency web service interface does not include a view of the User objects discovered by the scout. If you are interested in viewing these, you can look directly in the Users table in the ActiveEfficiency database. When the scout queries the ConfigMgr database, it records all the computers it discovers in the Devices table, and all the users in the Users table. Shopping will later retrieve the data from these two tables.


Lab Summary

In this lab, you have installed ActiveEfficiency Server and the ActiveEfficiency Scout and used the scout to gather data from the ConfigMgr database. You have learned how to confirm the data has been successfully gathered from the ConfigMgr database and to determine when the scout was last executed. You have learned how to use the ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager to create the scheduled task that runs the Scout using the alternate configuration (which skips collecting software inventory and usage data) frequently to ensure new computers and users are added to the ActiveEfficiency database in a timely manner. In the next lab, you will install Shopping and observe as it retrieves the computer and user information from ActiveEfficiency.

Next Page
Ex 2 - Shopping 5.5 - Installing Shopping